Average wages for self-employed still lower than two decades ago

The average earnings of Britain’s still growing army of self-employed workers are still lower than they were two decades ago, new research from the Resolution Foundation suggests.

The think tank estimates that average earnings for people in the group in 2014/15 are only around £240 a week, 15 per cent down on 1994/95 levels in real terms, reports The Independent.

Over that time the earnings of employees are up 14 per cent at around £400 a week.

According to the latest labour market report from the Office for National Statistics there are 4.76 million self-employed people, accounting for around 15 per cent of all those in work.

Since the 2008-09 recession their ranks have swelled by almost one million. And since 2000 the numbers are up by 1.5 million.

Yet the average wages of the group are £60 a week lower than at the turn of the Millennium, according to Resolution’s calculations.

Official data on the earnings of the self-employed is patchy and only produced with a considerable time lag, so Resolution has to use statistical interpolation techniques to estimate the latest average earnings for the group.

There is a vigorous debate among economists and analysts over whether the sharp rise in the numbers of self-employed in recent years reflects the preferences of workers for greater autonomy and fewer hours, or whether it is a symptom of a labour market that is still under capacity.